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WNCHA History Hour: The Spirits Still Move Them Documentary Screening

04/05/2022 @ 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM


Join the Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) as we bring you a special documentary screening, Tuesday, April 5 from 6:30-8PM. This event airs live via Zoom. We will have time for audience questions after the approximately 1-hour film.

Most of what we think we know about moonshining history is wrong.  That’s one of the themes of the Center for Cultural Preservation’s new documentary film on regional moonshine history, The Spirits Still Move Them.  David Weintraub, award-winning director/producer of forty history films interviews nearly three dozen moonshiners and their families in Western North Carolina, East Tennessee and the Dark Corner of South Carolina to tell a story about moonshine history that’s never been relayed before.

According to Weintraub, “The myth that all moonshiners are violent, lazy, drunk criminals hiding in the woods wearing long beards and longer arrest records has been recounted by the media for over 100 years.  In reality, liquor production was hard, backbreaking work that only the most entrepreneurial farmers conducted which they did in order to survive difficult circumstances and put food on the table.  It’s a fascinating story and far more interesting than the myths and distortions we’ve heard.”

The film digs deep into Southern Appalachian history exposing the stereotypes and fabrications about mountaineers that have been fodder for movies and cable television programs for generations from the Beverly Hillbillies to the Moonshiner Show.  Says Cody Bradford, fifth generation moonshiner and owner of Howling Moon Distillery in Asheville, “People think all moonshiners were outlaws but it was the federal government that enacted an excise tax after the Civil War that poor farmers had to bear.  It was either starve or make liquor and it’s not difficult to understand which one they chose.”

Cody and his family are chronicled in the film as are moonshiners from Yancey County to Spartanburg County.  Most surprising to many is that many moonshiners were African-Americans, women and Native Americans.   And that moonshine played a central role in medicine since the Civil War.

This film is made possible by Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, the Community Foundation of Henderson County and North Carolina Humanities.  The Center for Cultural Preservation is a cultural nonprofit organization dedicated to working for mountain heritage continuity through oral history, documentary film, education and public programs. For more information about the Center contact them at (828) 692-8062 or www.saveculture.org

About the Presenter:

Award-winning film director David Weintraub has been an oral historian and filmmaker for over 20 years. His films have appeared on PBS stations around the country and at film festivals around the world. His credits include Guardians of Our Troubled Waters and Come Hell or High Water: Remembering the 1916 Flood.

Tickets: $5 for WNCHA members/ $10 for General Admission. We also have no-cost, community-funded tickets available. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.

Viewing: Registrants will receive a Zoom link with which to view the program. It will also be recorded and later available on our website.


Western North Carolina Historical Association received an American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant from North Carolina Humanities, www.nchumanities.org. Funding for this grant was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act economic stabilization plan. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of North Carolina Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.


6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA)